I don't understand this question, but we have to classify if each word-final -s or -er is not a suffix or if it is an inflectional or derivational suffix. I specifically don't understand the wording "word-final." I put that, for example, that in the word kiss, the "word-final -s" is not a suffix where-as the "word-final -s" in the word "brings" is an inflectional suffix. Is that correct? When is the word-final -s not inflectional if it is a suffix?

  • As far as can see, your understanding of it is right. – Colin Fine Jan 4 '19 at 23:41

In English, that would be when word-final -s as a suffix is derivational, not inflectional. Examples would be forwards, backwards, sideways, besides. Also there is an endearative use in pops, toots (although toot = [tʊt] is not used by itself).

  • "an inflectional or derivational suffix ...When is the word-final -s not inflectional if it is a suffix?" --> Your answer: "that would be when word-final -s as a suffix is derivational, not inflectional." It might be quite helpful if you explained for novice linguists why towards has a derivational suffix, perhaps? Otherwise your answer is kind of just an example, without any explanation. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jan 6 '19 at 1:10
  • I don;t see how those are derivational (because I don;t know and you didn;t explain what that means). To me, as a German speaker, your examples look like genitive inflection, and wiktionary agrees (cf. besides, from genitive noun inflection [of side, obviously], comparable to possessive 's). Is pants plural (or genitive), or, in your view, derivational? Historic Linguistic's calls these forms fossilized. – vectory Jan 7 '19 at 2:51
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    I guess the main question is whether you understand the term "derivational" as opposed to "inflectional", and accept that it is a valid distinction. You could just say that all affixation is inflectional, so by definition anything that is suffixal is inflectional. I'm not arguing that "derivational" is a valid distinction, but the OP presupposes that it is. – user6726 Jan 7 '19 at 5:32

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